“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves….

………..continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.”    Bob Burg

How do you walk into a roomful of strangers and impress them? How do you connect easily with people you have just met?

Take care to look the part. It takes 4 – 7 seconds for others to assess what they think of you. And it will take another 20 encounters before they change that impression. So appearance will be a shorthand people use to sum you up. An interesting study recently revealed that if a vet dressed ‘down’, they were rated as low in effectiveness. However if they dressed in a white coat and wore a stethoscope (however superfluous), they were rated as highly effective! Go to hairdressers to get the best advice on how your hair should look. Go to an image consultant to match your colouring, your style and the context of the clothes you are wearing. Go to the gym to increase your fitness. Buy expensive shoes and keep them polished – people DO notice. Make sure your nails are carefully manicured. Make your appearance looks at least one level better than expectation to make an impact. So if people tend to dress in black or navy suits, then get a black Armani!

Claim your personal space. Imagine the 18” the British traditionally claim around the body. To increase a sense of ‘presence’ when you walk into a room, increase the space around you to include the room and enfold everyone in it. To create energy within you, imagine that you have a secret that no one else knows and go into the room thinking this. On entering the room, pause in the doorway and look round. Then move forward towards a group where the body language suggests they are open to others joining them. Even when you think that people are turned away from you, their peripheral vision will catch your entrance and make unconscious assumptions about what to make of you.

Set your mood. Before you enter the room, focus on and imagine how you want everyone in the room to feel and who you want to speak to. People are only too willing to be guided by you so set the tone and mood. You will gain the influence to set the agenda for the rest of the meeting.

Act powerfully. Make sure your unconscious signals are powerful: your movements and delivery deliberate and you use the major key in your voice to convey certainty. And be careful if you are a woman. In a roomful of people the sound level can be loud. The danger is to pitch your voice higher to be heard. However you can come across as being tense and shrill. Pitch it lower and make your diction clear and pithy to be heard.

Be sparing of your words. You are here to ask questions. And don’t expect to ‘sell’ to anyone. You are here to book one-to-one meetings with people you have identified as prospects. The sales meeting takes place when you have time and comfort. Here it is important that you get in front of the right people. If there is a list of attendees, scan the list and ask the meeting host to introduce you to potential prospects.

Listen! Give eye contact and quieten the internal chatter. Make space to absorb what’s being said and especially HOW it’s communicated. Become consciously aware of the subtext of body language and vocal tone (the hidden 95% of thought processes). It will give you a lot of information as to how you want to respond. Then make your response deliberate and targeted. Be like Clinton – make the person you are talking to feel the most important person in the room. It can be the most persuasive and influential strategy you can employ.

Keep panning for gold! Your objective is to focus on finding people who might be of value to you. And when you join a group, don’t hesitate to ask, “May I join you?” You have a right to be there and everyone will expect you to want to talk to them.The more you concentrate on focusing and learning about the person you are talking to, the more you overcome any feelings of anxiety and self consciousness. And as always, the more you network, the more people will recognise and greet you, the more you will feel comfortable networking.

How To Win Friends….To be really successful in your networking, to have people greet you with enthusiasm, talk about you with warmth and refer you on to their contacts on a consistent basis, you need to be generous. You have listened to them closely, you have found out what their needs are and who their ideal target is and you’ll be reviewing your database as to who to introduce them to. You have put their concerns and aspirations at the forefront of your mind. You will remember the names of their children, the date of their operation, the location of their holiday destination. They understand that they are truly important to you. And then you will be important to them.


Sarah McCloughry
Anrah Training & Development
CSSD (1974), London Univ, member of the British Voice Association
blog: https://anrah.wordpress.com/
01865 243655
07939 261743
“I thoroughly recommend Sarah to anyone who wants to improve their performance. Her courses and individual sessions lead to greater confidence whether speaking to a small group or a large conference. Sarah is the person to talk to first.” Nigel Tailyour CEO Transplant Sport UK




About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
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2 Responses to “The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves….

  1. Tom Downing says:


    Thanks for working with me this past year, and now with our team in the Stockholm Environment Institute. I have much to learn, still. But I thought of you this Wednesday and wanted to say thank you!

    I presented a report to Ministers in Kenya (on the economics of climate change, a rather specialized area). After the meeting I received an invitation from the Prime Minister to attend their next ministerial retreat.

    Not my usual crowd! Presence, voice, listening well, connecting…

    Tom Downing, SEI and GCAP

    • anrah says:

      Hi Tom

      Appreciate what you’ve written, Tom. Thank you. You deserve to feel proud of the achievements of your team at SEI and GCAP in advancing the awareness of Climate Change and Adaptation to this level. It is a sure sign of the impact of your influence. I have every confidence that your influence will continue to grow over the coming few years. Very exciting and gratifying for you.

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